Friday, November 19, 2010

Professor Jeremy Grimshaw- The Presence of Ramé

Dr. Jeremy Grimshaw spoke on the presence of ramé in a cremation ceremony on the island of Bali in Indonesia. He spoke on the Gamelon, a percussion ensemble that represented community: the art and devotion behind the music. The music of Bali manifests a connection between the beautiful and the spiritual. Despite the island’s small size, Bali is filled by a unique concentration of art, music and devotion. As Professor Jeremy Grimshaw quoted, “In Bali, we don’t have ‘art.’ We just do everything as beautifully as we can.” For the Balinese, life is art; every movement, every action exists as art. Grimshaw further illustrated this unique and devoted culture through his experience with the cremation of the head of the Ubud Royal Family.
The ramé that Professor Jeremy Grimshaw identifies refers to a fullness of being. The Balinese culture has an aversion to empty space for they can possess evil spirits. To fend away any malignant presences, the people of Bali fill this space with virtuous things, be it offerings, arts, decorations or music. In regards to the manifestation of ramé in Balinese music, their music is composed of layered melodies, paired tuning and interlocking parts. Excerpts of music were presented, and Professor Grimshaw identified the aspects of ramé with each new method.
Today, I had the magnificent sensation of being brought back to my home in Thailand, even if just for 50 minutes. The Balinese music that he played triggered within me nostalgia for a time since passed. Memories of my beloved Bangkok resurfaced and I dreamed sweetly of home. The pictures that he took of the instruments and procession reminded me so sweetly of the Thai’s culture and traditions. I was nourished by Grimshaw’s talk for it filled me with memories of my home. The lecture fulfilled my deep longings for home and I sat contented with a smile of my face. 

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